Manny Pina hits a double against the Columbus Clippers during the second inning on Saturday. BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
While Daniel Schlereth is the newest Mud Hen, having joined the team less than a week ago, he’s far from a stranger to Toledo.
Schlereth spent time at Fifth Third Field from 2010-2012, and he looks forward to working on regaining the form that allowed him to also pitch in Detroit those three seasons.
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“I missed this organization,” Schlereth said Saturday following the Mud Hens’ 6-1 loss to Columbus. “I’ve been gone for a year and a half, but it feels as if I’ve never left.
“I’ve been some other places, and this year has been pretty rough. So I’m glad to be back in this organization.
“I know everybody here and am comfortable here.”
Last season, Schlereth pitched in the Orioles’ organization but saw action in just 12 games, posting a 2-0 record and 0.82 ERA with Norfolk.
He began this past season with Pittsburgh’s Triple-A team in Indianapolis and struggled to a 7.23 ERA; he surrendered 18 hits and walked 18 in just 19 1/3 innings.
“I was trying new stuff all the time,” Schlereth said. “The people in Pittsburgh were trying to help me out, but I think it was just a little too much.
“I was trying new stuff every day, and it just wasn’t clicking.”
Schlereth struggled in his first appearance with the Hens, walking three while getting just two outs in Gwinnett on June 25. But last night, Schlereth allowed just one hit in 1 1/3 innings.
“He had good sink to the ball and was throwing strikes,” Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said of Schlereth. “What he was doing [in this game] will get outs.
“He had good action on the ball, kept it down in the zone, and threw it for strikes.”
Schlereth came on with the bases loaded in the seventh and got the final out on a soft line drive. In the eighth, he gave up a one-out single but erased the base runner with a double-play grounder.
“I’m able to wipe the slate clean here,” Schlereth said. “I want to go back to what I did here, because I’ve had the best years of my career with these people.”
While Schlereth and the bullpen kept Columbus off the board, the Clippers battered Hens starter Derek Hankins for 12 hits and six runs in five innings.
They scored a run in the first on two singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly, then added two runs in the second by stringing three doubles together.
Toledo got a run back in the bottom of the second when Ben Guez singled, then scored from first on a double by Trevor Crowe. Crowe was thrown out at third trying to advance on a potential wild pitch, and the Mud Hens did little else against Columbus starter Tyler Cloyd.
The Clippers’ right-hander, the International League’s pitcher of the year in 2012, gave up just five hits and a walk while fanning six in seven innings.
“Some of [our struggles] have to do with who we are facing,” Parrish said. “We have a lot of first-year guys, and when we face a pitcher who pitches a certain way, we don’t know how to react.”
The Clippers got that run back with a double and two singles in the third, and in the fifth Giovanny Urshela pounded a two-run homer, his seventh of the season.
“There was just too much hard contact [off Hankins],” Parrish said.
NOTES: Neither James McCann nor Hernan Perez were in the Hens lineup Saturday, but it was merely a matter of both getting a day off. … Crowe’s second-inning double extended his hit streak to 10 games. That streak is tied for the longest on the team this season; Jordan Lennerton had a 10-game hit streak from May 9-18. Perez has an active nine-game hit streak. … Saturday’s crowd of 11,500 was the Mud Hens’ 12th sellout this season and the 373rd in Fifth Third Field history.